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Friday, April 1, 2011

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.


Fire is the companion novel to Graceling, which is what I should be reviewing right now, but I suppose that's my fault, for going straight from my re-reading of that one to this one. Nice one, Leah. Anyway, if I had reviewed Graceling, you would know that I love, love, love it. Enough to re-read it, obviously, and to read it's companion. Which I'm reviewing right now.

Cashore is an amazing writer, and the words flow wonderfully, seamlessly, to form the beautiful and frightening word in which her novels take place. It has a certain allure, this world, and the story that works beautifully in it, with the perfect combination of romance, war, tragedy, and magic. And if you're looking for books with strong, powerful female leads, these are definitely it.

Fire, while very good, is much slower-paced than Graceling is. It also was a lot slower to hook me, and it took quite some time for me to honestly feel a connection to Fire or Archer. The latter is not for lack of development, but more for lack of draw; neither of the two main characters really engaged me until fifty-some pages in.
One thing that I've noticed, having read the two books together, is that the romance comes on rather suddenly. Rather, not in a surprising way--I knew it was coming, just as I'm sure anyone would--but rapidly. One moment the female lead (in this case, Fire) is suppressing her feelings for the male lead (in this case, Brigan), the next they are declaring their love and making out. Which I must admit I didn't oppose to at all, after waiting for around 200 pages, but the rush into it after such a long wait wasn't something I liked. There was absolutely no transition; suddenly, Brigan is throwing around the L-word, and you have no clue what you missed.

Other than those few nitpicky things, I honestly can't get enough of Kristin Cashore and her fantastic story telling. Nobody can blame her of lacking creativity, style, or just general awesome-ness.

Grade: A-


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